abuse[ə byo̵̅o̅z′; for n., ə byo̵̅o̅s′]
- Abuse is defined as injury or insult.
An example of abuse is not providing for the physical needs of a child.
- The definition of abuse is the use of something for the wrong purpose.
An example of abuse is when a politician takes public finds for personal gain.
- Abuse means to hurt or injure something or someone by acting badly or neglectfully.
Hitting your spouse or not feeding your pet are both examples of abuse.
- Abuse is to use something in a way that is wrong or that wasn't intended.
An example of abuse is to take prescription drugs for fun that you buy from a dealer instead of a doctor.
People sometimes abuse drugs and alcohol.
transitive verbabused, abusing
- to use wrongly; misuse: to abuse a privilege
- to hurt by treating badly; mistreat
- to inflict physical, sexual, or psychological harm upon
- to use insulting, coarse, or bad language about or to; revile
Origin of abuseMiddle English abusen ; from Old French abuser ; from Classical Latin abusus, past participle of abuti, misuse ; from ab-, away, from + uti, to use
- wrong, bad, or excessive use
- mistreatment, esp. by the infliction of physical, sexual, or psychological harm; injury
- a bad, unjust, or corrupt custom or practice
- insulting or coarse language
- Obsolete deception
transitive verba·bused, a·bus·ing, a·bus·es
- To use improperly or excessively; misuse: abuse alcohol; abuse a privilege.
- To hurt or injure by maltreatment; ill-use: animals that were abused by a negligent owner.
- To force sexual activity on; rape or molest.
- To assail with insulting or hurtful words; revile.
- Obsolete To deceive or trick.
- a. Improper or excessive use; misuse: abuse of authority; drug abuse.b. Rough treatment or use: shoes that have taken a lot of abuse.
- a. Physical maltreatment or violence: spousal abuse.b. Sexual abuse.c. Insulting or hurtful language, especially when used to threaten or demoralize: subjected her subordinates to verbal abuse.
- An unjust or wrongful practice: a government that commits abuses against its citizens.
Origin of abuseMiddle English abusen, from Old French abuser, from abus, improper use, from Latin abūsus, past participle of abūtī, to misuse : ab-, away; see ab–1 + ūtī, to use.
- Improper treatment or usage; application to a wrong or bad purpose; an unjust, corrupt or wrongful practice or custom. [First attested around 1350 to 1470.]
- All abuse, whether physical, verbal, psychological or sexual, is bad.
- Misuse; improper use; perversion. [First attested in the mid 16th century.]
- Coarse, insulting speech; abusive language; language that unjustly or angrily vilifies. [First attested in the mid 16th century.]
- (now rare) Catachresis. [First attested in the late 16th century.]
- Physical maltreatment; injury; cruel treatment. [First attested in the late 16th century.]
- Violation; defilement; rape; forcing of undesired sexual activity by one person on another, often on a repeated basis. [First attested in the late 16th century.]
- (misuse, perversion): Typically followed by the word of.
From Middle English abusen, then from either Old French abus (“improper use”), or from Latin abūsus (“misused, using up”), perfect active participle of abūtor (“make improper use of, consume, abuse”), from ab (“away”) + ūtor (“to use”).
(third-person singular simple present abuses, present participle abusing, simple past and past participle abused)
- To put to a wrong use; to misapply; to use improperly; to misuse; to use for a wrong purpose or end; to pervert; as, to abuse one's authority. [First attested around 1350 to 1470.]
- To injure; to maltreat; to hurt; to treat with cruelty, especially repeatedly. [First attested in the mid 16th century.]
- To attack with coarse language; to insult; to revile; malign; to speak in an offensive manner to or about someone; to disparage. [First attested in the early 17th century.]
- To imbibe a drug for a purpose other than it was intended; to intentionally take more of a drug than was prescribed for recreational reasons; to take illegal drugs habitually. [First attested in the mid 20th century.]
- (archaic) To violate; defile; to rape. [First attested around 1350 to 1470.]
abuse - Legal Definition
- The intentional or neglectful abuse, which includes sexual mistreatment, inflicted on a child.
- A parent or caregiver’s intentional or neglectful act or failure to act that results in a child’s abuse, exploitation, or death.
- An act or failure to act that results in a possibility of immediate and serious harm to a child. See also battered person syndrome and child neglect.
- An illegal sexual act.
- Unlawful sexual activity or contact with a person without her consent. The activity or contact is usually imposed by the use of force or threats of violence. The application of the term varies, but it is usually applied to activities or contact that do not amount to rape, but sometimes the term includes rape. Also called carnal abuse and sex abuse.